When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought

Front Cover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May 15, 2018 - Mathematics - 384 pages
1 Review

From Jim Holt, the New York Times bestselling author of Why Does the World Exist?, comes an entertaining and accessible guide to the most profound scientific and mathematical ideas of recent centuries in When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought.

Does time exist? What is infinity? Why do mirrors reverse left and right but not up and down? In this scintillating collection, Holt explores the human mind, the cosmos, and the thinkers who’ve tried to encompass the latter with the former. With his trademark clarity and humor, Holt probes the mysteries of quantum mechanics, the quest for the foundations of mathematics, and the nature of logic and truth. Along the way, he offers intimate biographical sketches of celebrated and neglected thinkers, from the physicist Emmy Noether to the computing pioneer Alan Turing and the discoverer of fractals, Benoit Mandelbrot. Holt offers a painless and playful introduction to many of our most beautiful but least understood ideas, from Einsteinian relativity to string theory, and also invites us to consider why the greatest logician of the twentieth century believed the U.S. Constitution contained a terrible contradiction—and whether the universe truly has a future.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - antao - www.librarything.com

My contribution to Holt’s Edge of Thoughts in the form of an article too: An unauthorised and short version of physics. How did scientists first deduce that the universe had hidden dimensions ... Read full review

When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought

User Review  - Book Verdict

Philosopher and New York Times writer Holt (Why Does the World Exist?) takes a collection of profound ideas, from theories on the infinite to how the universe will end, and presents them in a creative ... Read full review

Contents

When Einstein Walked with Gödel
3
Timethe Grand Illusion?
15
Numbers in the Brain in Platonic Heaven and in Society
21
Sir Francis Galton the Father of Statistics and Eugenics
51
A Mathematical Romance
69
The Avatars of Higher Mathematics
79
Benoit Mandelbrot and the Discovery of Fractals
90
Geometrical Creatures
105
Dr Strangelove Makes a Thinking Machine
194
Smarter Happier More Productive
203
Is Beauty Truth?
219
Einstein Spooky Action and the Reality of Space
230
How Will the Universe End?
241
Bad? The Looking
279
Dawkins and the Deity
299
On Moral Sainthood
306

A Comedy of Colors
118
Georg Cantor v David Foster Wallace
131
Why the Russians
138
The Dangerous Idea of the Infinitesimal
149
Was Byrons Daughter the First Coder?
169
Alan Turing in Life Logic and Death
181
A Philosophical Feud
314
Say Anything
333
Further Reading
345
Acknowledgments
351
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2018)

Jim Holt writes about math, science, and philosophy for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Review of Books. His Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story was an international bestseller.

Bibliographic information